Are you ambitious enough to try to figure out what kind of beer will go best with the your Super Bowl snacks but too lazy to attend the beer tastings at the likes of Jimmy’s and Bierkraft (or even consult this recent article)? Meet Sam Merritt, former brand manager of the Brooklyn Brewery and man behind Civilization of Beer, an organization that’s now offering private tastings. Merritt, in other words, brings the brew to you. (Thrillist, unsurprisingly, has already given him their grunt of approval.) We clamored to ask him a few questions.
How many beers do you bring to these events?
Unlike wine, you have to swallow the beer to taste it. Six or seven [apiece] is about the limit for most events.
Let’s say I want to know what beers will go best with White Castles and nachos on Super Bowl Sunday.
Well, White Castles are pretty greasy. You would want a lot of beers with great effervescence to cut through the grease. Bottle-conditioned beers, fermented like champagne, would be very good for that – they’re extra fizzy. As for the nachos, we’d probably use something from the West Coast, one of those very hoppy beers that pair naturally with spicy food — Stone IPA, for example, or Sierra Nevada.
Do you ever drink, or have people taste, cheap domestic beers?
I stay away from Budweiser and Anheuser Busch. I think they have enough business as it is. But I do drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and, for nostalgia’s sake, Meister Brau. I like to pair those with hot dogs. There’s a place in Williamsburg called the Levee, where for $2 you can get a hot dog with chili and onions, and for another $2 a cold PBR. You can do pretty well for $15 there.
Private tastings can be arranged for $20 to $70 a head. $70 gets you glassware and a hot and cold tasting buffet prepared by Blind Tiger Ale House chef Louise Leonard. Call 917-952-6211 for more information.